RENO, Nev. – A 32-year-old Nevada woman who was unaware that her mother abducted her as a child from New Jersey inadvertently alerted authorities when the daughter tried to change her name to get married, police said Wednesday.
Nancy Dunsavage Fiedler, 57, of Incline Village, was arrested Tuesday at her home near Lake Tahoe after she admitted to being the woman named on a fugitive warrant issued in New Jersey 25 years ago, the Washoe County sheriff's office said.
Fiedler, who was using the alias Debbie Reed in Nevada, did not have custody of 6-year-old Eva Marie Fiedler when the two disappeared during a break in a custody hearing in August 1984 in Somerville, N.J., New Jersey prosecutors said.
Eva Fiedler has been living with her mother at Incline Village, about 30 miles southwest of Reno, and apparently didn't know her mother was wanted or anything else about the case, said Sgt. Frank Roman, commander of major crimes for the Somerset County Prosecutor's office in New Jersey.
"It is still a very active investigation, but we believe she was not aware of this, no," Roman told The Associated Press.
Roman said that Eva Fiedler should be treated as a victim in the case, but "it's not like she was ever in any danger or anything like that."
The bizarre chain of events began to unfold Tuesday in Nevada when Eva Fiedler went to the Washoe County clerk's office to get her name changed to Melissa Reed to obtain a marriage license, said A. Peter DeMarco Jr., the acting prosecutor in Somerset County, N.J. It was not immediately known why Fiedler did not want to use her real name.
The fugitive warrant for Nancy Fiedler was issued on June 28, 1985, after she failed to appear for an arraignment charging her with interference with custody, DeMarco said. The girl's father had full custody at the time of the original hearing in New Jersey in Aug. 23, 1984, he said.
"Detectives have stated that throughout the years, Fiedler was able to remain undetected by obtaining a number of identities for her and her daughter," DeMarco said.
Roman said Eva Fielder's father is living in New Hampshire. He said they have contacted him but are withholding his name and address.
"We're trying to straighten it all out and get some facts together," Roman said. "Everything happened really quickly from last night to today."
Nancy Fiedler was being held in the Washoe County jail on a no-bail warrant pending extradition to New Jersey, DeMarco said.